By Tierney Fortner
On November 7th, 2018, Richard Blazevich, corporate recruiter, career coach and author, discussed interview strategies, job search approaches and resume tips with the members of PRSSA. He reviewed his six most important strategies for landing an internship or job, which are reviewed below.
Form an interview group
Throughout his presentation, Blazevich stressed the importance of forming an interview group. This group should consist of 3 or 4 people that you enjoy spending time with, and who you know will give you honest, constructive feedback. He reiterated that you should spend two to three hours a week preparing for interviews. Having a group that you can rely on will ultimately advance you in the interview process and put you ahead of others applying to the same positions. Blazevich attributed his success in the job market to his college interview group.
Build a job strategy
After you have formed your interview group, you must begin building your job strategy. The easy part is identifying your objectives and what you are hoping to get out of a position. The difficult part is listing out your options and finding companies that match your objectives. He suggested that students leverage the resources offered in the career development office.
Find a job you want
Find jobs with descriptions that aligns with your passions and what you want to do with your career. Next, segment the jobs that you found into top, second, and third tiers. The top tier should contain jobs that require duties that you want to do and companies that have the best reputation and culture. The second tier is a backup if you don’t get a job in your first tier. The third tier contains safety positions; he compared applying to third-tier positions to applying to the safety schools for college.
Customize resume for each position
Your resume should include your experience first, and education second. Experience should align with the job description and include keywords from the post. Blazevich suggests adding an interests section to the bottom of your resume to illustrate activities that you are passionate about. The interests should include activities that show your persistence.
If the previous steps landed you an interview, congratulations! When preparing for your interview, have answers ready for common questions. The interviewer will typically begin by asking “tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume.” You should phrase your answer through the PEN acronym. First, explain your passion and how it relates to the job position to which you are applying. Next, describe 2-3 experiences that illustrate why you are an excellent candidate for the position. Finally, discuss what you are hoping to accomplish next. After walking the interviewer through your resume, they might ask behavioral and situational questions to gauge how you will fit in with their company culture and how you have handled difficult situations in the past. Further, almost all interviewers will ask you to explain your greatest strength and weakness. Make sure that it is an actual weakness of yours, and that it is not a weakness that is crucial for the job position. Finally, the interview will conclude with time for you to ask constructive questions that were not addressed in the interview.
Within 24 hours of your interview, you should send an email thanking the interviewer for their time, explaining how excited you are by the possibility to work for their company and asking for follow up steps to the process. After the email is sent, you should write a hand-written thank you note that includes something specific that you discussed in the interview. By taking the time to send both an email and hand-written letter, you immediately stand apart from other candidates for the position.
To learn more about Blazevich’s interview strategies and job search tips, you can purchase his book, Interview Prep Playbook.